APnh 06/09 0447 Attorneys General By JAMES L. ENG Associated Press Writer COEUR D'ALENE, I
APnh 06/09 0447 Attorneys General
By JAMES L. ENG Associated Press Writer
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) -- The second day of a four-day
summer meeting of the nation's attorneys general continued here
today with an agenda headlined by a closed-door roundtable
discussion with U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III.
Meese was to discuss pending cases and current enforcement
Also scheduled was a dialogue led by Alexander Sukharev,
president of the Association of Soviet Lawyers.
On Monday, about 10 people marched in front of the resort
hotel where the meeting is being held, protesting the Soviet
One demonstrator, William Wolf of the Independent Task Force
on American Bar Association-Soviet Relations Inc., said he was
protesting an agreement between the bar association and the
Soviet organization that calls for the mutual promotion of the
rule of law in the world.
Wolf accused the Soviet group of being a "leading disseminator
of anti-Zionist, anti-Semitic propaganda."
At Monday's meeting, speakers told colleagues that community
grass-roots efforts and civil legislation should be used to
combat race-related and drug crimes.
Monday's agenda also featured committee meetings on asbestos,
consumer protection, acid rain and antitrust suits.
Massachusetts Attorney General James Shannon told the criminal
law and law enforcement committee his state has used broadly
written criminal and civil laws to collar those who commit
He said the state has also recently passed new laws, such as
one making it a new crime for a person to damage or destroy
In Massachusetts, Shannon said, victims have been of all
ethnic groups, including blacks, Cambodians, Hispanics,
Vietnamese, whites and Chinese.
In most cases, he said, seeking a civil injunction --
forbidding a person who is the object of a complaint from a
certain geographical area, for example -- has proven to be "a
very effective, very speedy" method of preventing further racial
Maurice Ellsworth, U.S. Attorney in Idaho, said that state
seemed "the most unlikely place" for race problems to surface.
And yet, he said, white supremacist groups such as The Order and
the Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations) have used
the region as a springboard for their attempts to establish a
"In terms of the general white supremacist movement, I'm
concerned about it being spread into the general community,"
He noted, though, that white supremacists seemed to be preying
on those down on their luck, trying to convince them that their
economic hardships can be blamed on certain racial and ethnic
Attorney General John Van de Kamp of California asked his
colleagues to pay attention to what he called a recent "upsurge"
in race-related crimes.
"We cannot be blind to what's going on," he said.
He suggested that states explore the establishment of county
human relations councils to "elevate the problem and put people
Van de Kamp also suggested states follow the example of
Massachusetts in pursuing legislation to provide for injunctions
and better ability to prosecute race-related crimes.
Frances James of South Central Organizing Committee said
grass-roots organizations could mobilize local participation and
interest, as well as keep tabs on politicians and conduct
Alec Gray, former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General and
now a Boston attorney specializing in AIDS-related issues,
advised states to brace for new criminal laws involving carriers
who knowingly infect people with the deadly virus.
In Arizona, Gray pointed out, a soldier is being
court-martialed for allegedly infecting a woman and man at a
Whether criminal law can be used as a public health tool, Gray
said, would ultimately be decided by public health officials.
Legal issues involving the disease, Gray said, "pose
incredibly difficult problems, analytically and practically."
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank